A year ago, Breast Cancer UK had so much to celebrate. We were a growing charity at the top of our game and had just hired some key staff to prove it.

We’d recently built on our important work of getting the chemical Bisphenol A (which has a link to breast cancer) banned from baby bottles, and been successfully active in highlighting to government the slurry of toxic chemicals in our furniture and cosmetics that end up in breast milk and clog up breast tissue.

We were on the verge of expanding our ambassador education programme to go into workplaces around the country to educate women on how they can reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by up to 30 percent.   Yes, we were making great strides.

COVID has changed all that.

Today tough decisions have had to be made which include reducing our staff by a quarter and no longer being able to deliver our ambassador outreach programme. However, what we are doing is rethinking and refocusing our strategy to make sure that what we do best, we now do even better. This means we will significantly redesign how we promote our key messages and our scientific work.

Yes the virus has hit us hard, like many other charities it has almost halved our income. The one thing we can’t fault is the commitment of our supporters who have come out in force throughout this crisis, to stand by us by fundraising as much as they can. For this we are truly grateful. But this pandemic has hit them hard too. And we recognise that. Every penny that could go to charities like us, is equally needed by families themselves and frontline services.

There’s no easy fix. But there is a best case scenario and we’re determined to make it happen. Despite reducing the size of our team, we are refocusing our work, starting with ambitious plans to expand and increase investment in our scientific research programme – something which is needed now more than ever.

We want to support emerging scientists by expanding PHD studentships and bringing together and growing the breast cancer prevention research community.  All of this will help deepen our understanding of the causes of breast cancer and how we can prevent it. Importantly, it will strengthen our impact and our voice with public health decision makers, by supporting policy that puts prevention first.

We are also very excited about this October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s an opportunity to celebrate our resilience and revive that fundraising spirit to prove to the world that charities like us continue to play a critical role in supporting people to achieve long term health.

This Breast Cancer Awareness month, I invite you to join our 25 Saves Lives campaign and fundraise what you can, or simply donate £25 or whatever you can afford. You can be the difference our charity needs to thrive for years to come. Next year will be our 20th  anniversary. Please help us celebrate this anniversary knowing that our important work is here to stay.

Thank you

Thalie Martini, CEO Breast Cancer UK

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